OPENINGS: Blended Cafe Bar, from the owners of House of Pho, will bring banh mi sandwiches and bubble tea to the old Juliana's Fine Tuscan Cuisine space in College Park. Caliente Spicy Cuban Fusion was to have opened in the space, but owners Jim and Silvia Lakey opted to lease it out ... Tutto Caffe has finally opened in Baldwin Park. Time to test out that coffee printer ... Park Lane Place, a new development in Lake Mary, will be home to locations of Orange County Brewers, Tutto Caffe (they're on a roll!), 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, Chicken Salad Chick, Nothing Bundt Cakes and a new poke joint called, uhh, the Poke Joint. Look for the eateries to start opening this summer ... Hawkers Asian Street Fare will open its second Orlando-area location in the Grove plaza in Windermere in April ... Taco-loving locals, take note: Mexas Tacos, who call themselves "Orlando's most authentic Mexican restaurant," has been serving tacos, tostadas and mexagringas on Vineland Avenue near the outlets to the delight of many a tourist.
Next! Stir Restaurant & Bar will move into the space recently vacated by Nova in Ivanhoe Village. Several investors, including Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Kadeem Edwards, are behind the venture ... Craft & Common, by husband-and-wife team Brandon and Lindsay Duensing, will take over the old Java Lava space downtown this summer.
NEWS: Pizzeria Roberti, which serves some of the best pizzas in the city, will launch a new menu later this summer featuring a lot more seasonality and local products. Look for homemade cheeses and house-made pastas as well a restaurant garden ... Richard Gonzmart, fourth-generation CEO of the Columbia Restaurant Group, was nominated for a 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurateur. Central Florida chefs, unfortunately, were shut out from the nominations.
EVENTS: Second Harvest Food Bank's Chef's Night March 1 will place the spotlight on five of the top graduates of their Culinary Training Program. The grads will work with chef instructors to present a five-course meal. Cost is $50 ... The third annual Smokin' Showdown hosted by Sonny's BBQ is March 3 at Camping World Stadium. Cost is $15 ... Also March 3, the 10th annual Taste of Windermere goes from 6-9 p.m. with nearly 30 restaurants participating. Cost is $85.
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